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Bothriechis thalassinus CAMPBELL & SMITH, 2000

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesG: Meerblaue Palmenlanzenotter 
SynonymBothriechis thalassinus CAMPBELL & SMITH 2000
Bothriechis thalassinus — MONZEL & WÜSTER 2008
Bothriechis thalassinus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 109 
DistributionGuatemala, Honduras (elevation 1370-1750 m)

Type locality: "Finca la Firmeza, Sierra de Caral, Izabal, Guatemala, 900 m (15°22’29" N, 88°41'44" W)."  
TypesHolotype: UTA R-46526, a subadult male, The University of Texas at Arlington, from Finca La Firmeza, Sierra de Caral, Izabal, Guatemala, 900 m (15û22'29" N, 88û41'44" W), collected on 30 Aug. 1997 by E. N. Smith. 
DiagnosisDefinition and diagnosis.–A moderately sized (up to almost a meter in total length), green, arboreal pitviper in which the tail comprises between 16-18% of the TL in males and females. There are 5-9 (x = 7.7) intersupraoculars that are distinctly keeled, 23-26 (x = 24.1) interrictals that are also keeled, 161-168 ventrals, 60-67 undivided subcaudals, and usually 21 (rarely 23) dorsal scale rows at midbody.

Bothriechis schlegelii occurs on the same slopes as B. thalassinus but generally at lower elevations. Small, spinelike supraciliary scales between the eye and supraoculars and usually at least 23 dorsal scale rows at midbody distinguish B. schlegelii from B. thalassinus. Two other congeners that occur on the Atlantic slopes of northern Central America, but rarely, if ever, are sympatric with B. thalassinus, include. Bothriechis aurifer has a dorsal pattern of yellow blotches edged with a black border that is often fused between adjacent blotches, only 1-5 intersupraoculars, and usually 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody. Bothriechis marchi has irregular, mostly flat scales on the crown, at least a few of which are usually conspicuously larger than surrounding scales, 3-7 intersupraoculars, and usually 19 scales at midbody. Bothriechis rowleyi of Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico, may be distinguished from B. thalassinus in having 3-5 intersupraoculars that are irregularly shaped, the adjacent scales on the crown lacking parallel keeling, and 19 dorsal scale rows present at midbody.

Bothriechis thalassinus most closely resembles B. bicolor of the Pacific slopes of southern Mexico and Guatemala, but B. bicolor differs in having more intersupraoculars (8-10, x = 8.7, in males; 8-11, x = 10.0 in females) and interrictals (27-31, x = 28.5, in males; 27-33, x = 30.3, in females). There is also a subtle difference in the shape of the first pair of infralabials. In B. bicolor these scales are relatively broad, whereas in B. thalassinus they are narrower and the exposure of the scales along the lingual margin is often reduced.

Two montane congeners occur south of the Nicaraguan Depression in Costa Rica and Panama. Bothriechis nigroviridis has a green body heavily speckled or mottled with black on the sides and the dorsum, fewer ventrals (139-158) and subcaudals (47-58), and usually 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody. Bothriechis lateralis has distinctive yellow paravertebral vertical bars and yellow paraventral stripes on the body. Further, there are usually 23 midbody dorsal scale rows in this species. [from CAMPBELL & SMITH 2000]. 

Not listed for Honduras by WILSON & MCCRANIE (2002).

Habitat: forests, fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018) 
EtymologyNamed after the Greek thalassinos, meaning blue-green, in allusion to the striking coloration of this snake. 
  • Campbell, J.A. & Smith, E.N. 2000. A new species of arboreal pitviper from the Atlantic versant of northern Central America. Revista de Biologia Tropical 48: 1001-1013 - get paper here
  • García-Padilla E, DeSantis DL, Rocha A, Mata-Silva V, Johnson JD, Wilson LD. 2020. Conserving the Mesoamerican herpetofauna: the most critical case of the priority level one endemic species. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 14(2) [General Section]: 73–132 (e240) - get paper here
  • Guerra Centeno, Dennis; Héctor Fuentes Rousselin & David Morán Villatoro 2012. Serpientes de Guatemala: Guía para didentificación de especies. Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, 186 pp.
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Kunz, K. 2006. Im Zauberreich des Quetzal: Traumreisen durch das “Land des ewigen Frühlings” [Guatemala]. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (57): 42-50 - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • Meléndez, Lester 2008. Die Bothriechis-Arten Guatemalas – Daten zur Biologie und Nachzucht. Draco 8 (33): 44-49 - get paper here
  • Monzel, Markus & Wolfgang Wüster 2008. Neotropische Grubenottern – Evolution, Biogeographie und Ökologie. Draco 8 (33): 4-27 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Townsend, Josiah; Melissa Medina-Flores, Larry Wilson, Robert Jadin, James Austin 2013. A relict lineage and new species of green palm-pitviper (Squamata, Viperidae, Bothriechis) from the Chortís Highlands of Mesoamerica. ZooKeys 298 (2013): 77-105 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Wilson, L.D. & McCranie, J.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the cloud forests of Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 3 (1): 34-48 - get paper here
  • Wilson, L.D. & McCranie, J.R. 2003. The conservation status of the herpetofauna of Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 3 (1): 6-33 - get paper here
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